Baseball America compiled top prospect lists for 20 college summer leagues and USA Baseball’s Collegiate National Team. Here are the No. 1 prospects for all 21 leagues, along with links to the full lists for subscribers. The writers who assembled these prospect lists were Aaron Fitt, Clint Longenecker, Carlos Collazo, Pat Hickey, Mike Lemaire, Jacob Emert and Jeff Zimmerman.
|SUMMER LEAGUE TOP PROSPECT LISTS|
|Baseball America is ranking the top prospects in 20 summer leagues as well as Team USA.|
|Atlantic Collegiate||Great Lakes||Prospect League|
|Cal Ripken Collegiate||Golden State||Sunbelt|
|California Collegiate||Hamptons Collegiate||Team USA|
|Cape Cod||Jayhawk||Texas Collegiate|
|Florida Collegiate||New England Collegiate||West Coast|
Tyler Stubblefield, lhp
Mat-Su (So., Texas A&M)
A decorated high school quarterback who set numerous school records, Stubblefield was an immediate contributor as a freshman after starting 11 games for the Aggies and throwing a complete game during a regional victory against rival Texas. Stubblefield, 20, is old for the class and will be a draft-eligible sophomore. The athletic Stubblefield has an easy delivery and gets downhill plane and arm-side run on a fastball that sits 89-92, touching 94. His changeup is his best secondary offering and his slider has improved to give him another look against same-side hitters. The 6-foot-4, 210-pound Stubblefield has a large frame with strength and further room to fill out. He was one of the top performers in the league, leading qualified starters with a 1.05 ERA and 45 strikeouts. He struck out 9.5 batters per nine innings with a strikeout-walk ratio of 5-1.
C.J. Moore, of
Staten Island (Fr., Lamar)
Moore has exceptional raw talent with plus-plus speed, a strong arm and a rangy 6-foot-2, 200-pound frame. He was drafted out of Connecticut’s Sheffield Academy in the 13th round by the Diamondbacks in the 2014, but he elected to head to school at Lamar. He played 20 games for the Tide and hit .321 with nine stolen bases. His bat should continue to improve, and he figures to add power as he gets stronger.
Brady Bramlett, rhp
Baltimore Redbirds, (R-So., Mississippi)
Bramlett’s summer efforts came after sitting out the latter part of his 2013 season and all of his 2014 college season with a torn labrum. In seven starts this summer he had 38 innings pitched with a 2.84 ERA and a 1.29 WHIP. He missed plenty of bats, striking out 53 while walking 19. Bramlett’s 6-foot-4, 245-pound size and mound presence make his 87-92 mph fastball play up. His 77-79 mph breaking ball shows two-plane action from a mid- to high-three-quarters slot. The ball comes easily out of his glove and he usually repeats his delivery and finds his landing spot. He also occasionally mixes in a second soft curve at 66-67 that can keep hitters off balance. Bramlett has all the necessary attributes for pro ball, assuming he continues to regain strength from his injury and his fastball velocity continues to improve.
Jon Duplantier, rhp
Santa Barbara (So., Rice)
Rice’s top recruit last year, Duplantier split his freshman year between the rotation and the bullpen, then served as Santa Barbara’s ace, going 6-2, 1.50 with 74 strikeouts and 36 walks in 54 innings. Loose, athletic and physical at 6-foot-4, 210 pounds, Duplantier pitches with a 92-95 mph fastball with minimal effort, and his delivery has outstanding extension. He can get swing-throughs with his heater and with his 82-85 mph slider, which can be a better than average pitch if he can throw it with tighter break more consistently. He also developed his changeup this summer, showing real feel for it against both lefties and righties. Duplantier must continue to hone his command, but he has the body and stuff to become a frontline ace for Rice and eventually an impact arm in the big leagues.
Cape Cod ($)
Walker Buehler, rhp,
Yarmouth-Dennis (Jr., Vanderbilt)
After playing a crucial role in Vanderbilt’s run to the national championship, Buehler turned in one good outing for Team USA, then three strong regular-season outings for Y-D. He earned Cape League postseason co-MVP honors by going 2-0, 0.00 with 13 strikeouts in 15 innings in the playoffs, and he still sat comfortably at 92-95 mph for eight innings in his championship series win against Falmouth. That his stuff remained so electric after nearly 140 innings between the spring and summer allays concerns about his durability stemming from his wiry 6-foot-1 build. Buehler’s lack of physicality is the only significant knock against him, but he has a smooth delivery and arm action. He racks up groundball outs with his heavy fastball, which peaks at 96 mph, and he is a natural strike-thrower. He sometimes slows down his delivery a bit when he throws his changeup, but it has good fading action and projects as a solid-average to above-average pitch. Buehler throws both a curveball at 78-79 and a slider at 83-85; both show promise but need more consistency. The curveball flashes plus but can be below-average at times when his release point varies. He needs to do a better job staying on top of his slider for it to become a consistently average pitch, but his feel to spin his breaking stuff is encouraging.
Cal Quantrill, rhp
Morehead City (So., Stanford)
Quantrill ranked No. 95 in the BA 500 before the draft in 2013 largely because of his advanced feel for pitching. He’s still showing that feel after a year with Stanford and in the Coastal Plain League, where he posted a 1.59 ERA in 23 innings. Quantrill’s his three-pitch arsenal includes a fastball that sits in the low 90s and bumps 94-95, a plus changeup and a 79-81 mph breaking ball—all of which he will throw in any count. One CPL coach called his feel for pitching “off the charts.” Quantrill has started to fill out his 6-foot-3, 185-pound, helping him add some velocity on his fastball. The combination of stuff, command, size and toughness make Quantrill a premium draft prospect for 2016.
Austin Hays, of
DeLand (So., Jacksonville)
In just over 150 at-bats during the regular season with the DeLand Suns, Hays batted .349 with nine doubles and two home runs. Hays is more advanced than most hitters in the FCSL, and brings advanced plate discipline and pitch recognition with the ability to spray the ball to all fields. He’s wiry-strong at 6 feet, 195 pounds and needs to fill out his frame, but his game is polished. While none of Hays’ tools are off the charts, all of them grade out and he’s consistently shown that he loves to play. He’s a natural hitter with a strong arm, a good defender and he’s shown solid speed, both on the bases and in the outfield. Hays was previously at Seminole (Fla.) State JC, but is transferring to Jacksonville.
Will Toffey, 3b,
Martha’s Vineyard (Fr., Vanderbilt)
After being one of the top hockey players in the Northeast in high school, Toffey decided to focus on baseball and is heading to Vanderbilt for his first college season. Ranked No. 353 in the 2014 BA 500, Toffey was a shortstop in high school with an above-average arm that flashed plus. He has a good approach at the plate and at least average power potential. Even as one of the youngest players in the Futures League, Toffey had no issues at the plate this summer, putting up a .322/.463/.537 slash line with seven home runs in 46 games. On top of that, Toffey walked more than he struck out (38 walks to 37 strikeouts). One evaluator said that while Toffey is probably a third baseman at the next level, he has the ability to play shortstop and second base in a pinch.
“Toffey’s got it all,” the evaluator said. “He’s strong, he can run well and he drives the ball. He’s a professional hitter right now.”
Brandon Poulson, rhp
Healdsburg (Signed: Twins)
Minnesota made headlines after it gave Poulson a $250,000 signing bonus as an undrafted free agent in July. Informally known as the “100 mph throwing art school kid,” Poulson was an unheralded scouting find out of the Academy of Art University in San Francisco and pitched this summer with the Healdsburg Prune Packers. While he’s a physical specimen at 6-foot-6 and 240 pounds, Poulson is extremely raw. Even with his size, the 24-year-old has turned in plus-plus 60-yard dash times and reportedly has a 40-inch vertical leap. The Twins announced he will start out in the bullpen, where he is mainly a one-pitch guy. The arm strength is evident; his fastball ranged from 94-99 mph this summer. Poulson’s control is a major work in progress, as he walked 24 in 19 innings in college, and in one outing this summer, seven batters in just one inning of work. If the Twins can figure him out, it’s the type of story that could make for a good movie one day.
Cory Wilder, rhp
Lima (So., North Carolina State)
Wilder went from wild as a freshman for the Wolfpack to effectively wild this summer in his hometown of Lima, Ohio, where he showcased the best stuff of anyone in the league. After earning all-state honors in a breakout senior season in high school in 2013, Wilder walked 11 in nine innings as a freshman but also struck out nine and was rarely squared up. This summer, Wilder went 3-1, 2.64 and led the league in strikeouts (60) while surrendering 16 walks in 44 innings. Projectable at 6-foot-4 and 205 pounds, Wilder showcases two quality pitches in an 88-91 mph fastball that bumps 93 with decent life and a 77-81 mph slider that gets swing-and-misses. He needs to learn to repeat his delivery more consistently and incorporate more of his lower body. While the walks were down this summer, Wilder did have nine wild pitches and hit four batters, so there is still room for improvement.
Mike Donadio, of
Riverhead (So., St. John’s)
The league’s top hitter and MVP is also its best prospect. Donadio batted .378 to lead all HCBL hitters, and finished second in hits and on-base percentage, fourth in RBIs and fifth in runs scored. From the left side, Donadio shows gap-to-gap power and uses all fields in excelling against both lefties and righties. His speed—he registered a league-best 60-yard dash time of 6.52 on scout day—makes him dangerous on the basepaths, but his baserunning instincts could improve. As a freshman at St. John’s, Donadio hit .328 with five homers and 45 RBIs en route to being named Big East Rookie of the Year.
Blake Rogers, rhp
Liberal (Jr., Oklahoma)
Rogers is a 6-foot-2 reliever who comes at hitters with a 91-94 mph fastball and a 76-79 mph breaking ball. Even though he has put on 30 pounds from the start of his freshman season, his 6-foot-1 frame will allow for some additional growth. He throws from a three-quarters arm slot with a quick, easy, repeatable motion. Previously a starter, he comes in to relieve using a full wind-up. He initially went to Lyons College in Arkansas and then transferred to Cisco JC in Texas for the 2014 season, during which he struggled with his control as a starter. He was used exclusively as a reliever in the Jayhawk League, where he struck out nearly 11 batters per nine innings while posting a strikeout-walk ratio of 7-1 in limited usage.
Brett Ash, rhp
St. Joseph’s (Signed: Mariners)
One of the most accomplished starting pitchers in the history of Washburn University, Ash moved to the back-end of the bullpen with St. Joseph’s in an effort to showcase his velocity for pro scouts, and the move paid dividends almost immediately, as his velocity jumped and the Mariners signed him. As a starter, Ash sat 88-90 mph and occasionally touched 91. But coming out of the bullpen, Ash was really able to unleash his arm strength, and Mustangs’ coaches consistently had him at 93-94 mph, bumping 95 on occasion. Ash is also armed with a hard 83-84 mph slider that multiple scouts said had big league potential. He can throw both pitches for strikes in any count and can even mix in a serviceable changeup to give hitters a different look and keep them off balance. At 6-foot-3 and 190 pounds, Ash has a projectable frame and an effortless delivery, leading some to believe that he could add more velocity as he fills out his frame. While some coaches felt that he could be effective as a starter at the next level, most agreed that his best chance as a professional was in the bullpen, which he is still getting used to. Ash wasn’t used to pitching on back-to-back days and Mustangs’ coach Matt Johnson said that when he did use the righthander two days in a row, he was a little inconsistent the second time out. If he can add some additional velocity he may be able to rise quickly through the Mariners’ system thanks to his polish.
Alex Robinson, lhp
Keene (Jr., Maryland)
Since sitting 87-89 in high school, Robinson has added velocity to his fastball, and throughout the NECBL was sitting in the mid-90s regularly. The physical 6-foot-3 lefty worked at 92-96 mph in a short stint in the league all-star game, and one evaluator suggested he could make additional gains if he can repeat his delivery more consistently. While Robinson’s heavy fastball was very tough for NECBL hitters, his slider drew mixed reviews. One coach said that the pitch was a “big time slider,” another called the pitch “decent,” and another said “he lacked feel for his secondary stuff.” Fine-tuning the slider and developing it into a more consistent pitch will be a point of emphasis for Robinson going into his junior year at Maryland. After putting up a strikeout-walk mark of just 19-15 in 16 innings last year with the Terrapins, Robinson managed to strike out twice as many batters (26) as he walked (13) in 21 NECBL innings.
Ryan Boldt, of
Rochester (So., Nebraska)
Boldt entered the spring of 2013 with the potential to go in the top two rounds of the draft before tearing the meniscus in his right knee in his first game. He emerged as a second-team freshman All-American after hitting .311/.382/.437 this spring. Boldt was a late addition for the Honkers after not making Team USA. The lefthanded hitter has a well-rounded skill set and has added strength to his 6-foot-2, 200-pound frame. He has a loose stroke with the potential to be an above-average hitter. Boldt flashes above-average raw power in batting practice, though that power has yet to translate to game action, with two home runs this spring and none this summer. His above-average speed gives him the potential to stay in center field, and he stole 14 bases this summer. His arm approaches average.
Prospect League ($)
Ronnie Dawson, of
Chillicothe (So., Ohio State)
Dawson came to the Buckeyes as a lightly recruited raw talent and led the team in hitting on his way to being named to the all-Big Ten second team. This summer, he picked up where he left off, leading the circuit in home runs (11) and finishing second in RBIs (44) while also stealing 17 bases. Listed at 6-foot-2 and 225 pounds, Dawson looks more like a free safety than a left fielder, and his combination of size and speed made him easily the most athletic player in the league. His power from the left side and his speed are already plus tools, and now it is just a matter of developing and refining his baseball skills. He is more polished than many young sluggers when it comes to plate discipline and a willingness to hit to all fields, but despite a gaudy .303/.414/.540 line in 211 at-bats this summer, Dawson still has plenty of work to do as a hitter. Like so many young power hitters, Dawson does a fair amount of swinging and missing (45 strikeouts on the summer) and tends to be over-aggressive, especially with two strikes. He has great bat speed and lightning-quick hands, so college pitchers won’t consistently sneak fastballs by him, but he will need to keep his swing more compact consistently if he expects to have success at the next level against professional velocity. His control of the zone also leaves something to be desired as he was occasionally fooled by off-speed stuff and tended to get himself out too often by swinging at bad pitches. He ran a 6.7-second 60-yard dash at the league’s all-star game, and he is a savvy baserunner who takes smart leads and gets good jumps on stolen base attempts. He played some center field for the Paints this summer but is likely destined for a corner spot, where his athleticism, instincts and arm strength make him a potential plus defender.
Gabe Friese, rhp
East Cobb (So., Kennesaw State)
Friese made his way from midweek starter to a weekend starter as a true freshman for the Owls team that made the Louisville Super Regional this spring. Friese has a power arm and will consistently sit in the high 80s and occasionally touch as high as 93. His go-to pitch is a curveball with a sharp, late break, and he has the ability to throw it in any count. Friese has shown willingness to work as hard as it takes to succeed and shows great potential for the next level of play.
Kyle Funkhouser, rhp (Jr., Louisville)
After splitting time between the bullpen and rotation as a freshman, Funkhouser was the rotation bell cow that helped push Louisville to the College World Series in 2014. Funkhouser emerged as the top prospect on Team USA after throwing considerably more strikes this summer than in his first two seasons while offering pitchability, stuff and a four-pitch mix. The 6-foot-2, 218-pound Funkhouser has a strong, durable build with a physical lower half. His fastball largely sat 92-94 mph, touching 96, and it plays up because of its downhill plane, arm-side bore and sink when down in the zone, portending groundball tendencies. The offering also plays up because of his above-average fastball extension that is among the best on the team, and he offers some deception in his delivery, though his fastball played true when up in the zone. Funkhouser’s top secondary offering is a slider that flashed plus potential with two-plane break that he varies the shape of. He also offers a curveball with average potential and 11-to-5 tilt. Funkhouser’s developing changeup shows at least average potential and is a weapon against lefthanded hitters. He was one of the top performers this summer, leading the team in strikeouts (36) with the best strikeout rate of any starter (11.4 per nine). To be one of the first college starters taken next spring, the improved strike-throwing ability he showed this summer (2.54 walks per nine innings) must continue next spring, because his career walk rate in school is more than two walks higher (4.63) over 175 innings. From 2009-2014, the average college first-rounder walked just 2.81 per nine innings.
Connor Barron, of
Acadiana (Sr., Southern Mississippi)
After three seasons at Southern Mississippi, Barron has still yet to live up to the high expectations that made him a third-round pick of the Marlins out of high school in 2011. But if this summer is any indication, Barron may finally be on the cusp of breaking out. The rising senior had a lackluster summer last season for the Canecutters, hitting .253/.342/.418 in 159 at-bats, but returned this season with an improved approach at the plate and better consistency. He stood out as the best position player in the league, slashing .344/.418/.519 to go along with four home runs and 34 stolen bases in 37 attempts. Although he still hasn’t put it together at the plate for the Golden Eagles, Barron has taken major strides to shorten his swing, improve his bat speed, and level off his swing plane. He led off for the Canecutters this summer, and multiple coaches noticed that his move to the top of the order coincided with a more patient and discerning approach at the plate. He is still overly aggressive and was repeatedly beaten by velocity up in the zone that he could not stop chasing, but he did a better job of picking the right pitches to hit. At his best, Barron has legitimate gap-to-gap power, annihilates mistakes and uses his plus speed and excellent bunting ability to consistently get on base. He still doesn’t hit the ball the other way with authority very often and has some swing-and-miss to his game, but he proved this summer that he still has plenty of offensive ability. Once an infielder, Barron spent most of the summer in center field for the Canecutters, but most seem to agree that he is destined for one of the corner outfield spots, where his athleticism and arm strength will make him an asset defensively. Barron’s in-season struggles have always been a mystery to summer coaches who see a potential five-tool player with real upside.
J.C. Escarra, c
Staunton (So., Florida International)
Escarra is new to the catcher position after playing third base in high school. His Valley League games for Staunton were his first extended playing time behind plate, although he did catch a few games in the spring season. His athletic talent showed this summer, as he committed no errors in 28 games played and flashed average pro arm strength with 1.95-2.05 pop times. His agility is above-average and his glove is quick to the ground to block errant pitches. The physical 6-foot-2, 205-pounder shows his pitchers a big target behind the plate. The lefthanded-hitting Escarra had a .283 average this summer and showed occasional power (3 HRs) in the league’s short-porch fields. Still only 19 years old, his tools should play up as his body fills out and matures.
David Peterson, lhp
Medford Rogues (Fr., Oregon)
Peterson piqued scouts’ interest on the showcase circuit as a big-bodied projectable lefthander from a state that routinely produces projectable arms, Colorado. Considered a potential top-three-rounds talent, Peterson broke his right fibula in the first week of March, a mere two weeks before his spring season was set to begin, a season that included a trip to the most heavily scouted high school tournament in the country, the National High School Invitational. He was expected to be lost for the season but healed quicker than expected and made seven appearances down the stretch. The Red Sox took a flier on him in the 28th round. Peterson began to capitalize on his projection this summer, when his fastball took another step forward. His fastball largely sat in the mid-80s this spring and touched 90, but it sat in the high-80s this summer and touched 94. With loose arm action and an easy delivery, Peterson hides the ball well and produces above-average fastball movement with sink and heavy arm-side run that portends groundball tendencies and tough looks for lefthanded hitters. WCL coaches said his secondary stuff needs to become more consistent, but his changeup has flashed above-average potential and his curveball shows average potential. His control numbers were pedestrian (3.75 walks per nine) this summer and will also need to improve, as will his ability to miss bats (6.0 strikeouts per nine). But the lanky, long-limbed 6-foot-6 Peterson offers considerable physical projection and a three-year window to improve at Oregon.